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Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Freedom! Independence! Coffee! These are the promises of a freelance life, and it’s a wonderful image. As I branched out from corporate life (got fired…again) I embraced the freelance ethos of not letting the man get me down, living life on my terms and working from coffee shops with a superior smirk at the ready, should some office bound hack come my way.

The problem is, freelancing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I found that while I liked the idea – and still do – I’m just not suited to it; I needed to find a way to get the best of freelancing, while taking the best things from corporate life – consistent income, the resources of others, the flexibility to work beyond the structures of an intermediary or freelancing site – without the gross parts that make me want to spit bile. I wanted to freelance while behaving like a business.

So I made a list of the things I wanted and didn’t want. I had to accept that some basics came with having a business, like budgets and product offerings beyond, “I do writing,” but there were clear lines in the sand – I would not work in an office, be restricted to office hours, or work with anyone who took themselves too seriously.

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Here’s the most important of those rules, adapted over time.

1. Act Like a Business

The perception of being a business of substance is important. Probably not to you, but your prospects like to feel comfortable engaging you, they want to sense there is more accountability than your promise.

  •  Invest in a website – you’re not as good at WordPress as you think (unless you’re a WP designer).
  • Find some good marketing automation software. Combine MailChimp with a marketing stack – Hubspot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are all good places to start. Spend some time creating a social calendar and a way to collect leads from your website.
  • Get an accounting system with invoicing capability – I use Xero, Quickbooks is awesome, but there are heaps of options out there.
  • Get a logo. I spent ages on this and eventually I just found a font I liked. Check out www.knighttime.com.au, for my mindbogglingly simple creation.
  • Get business cards. I hate business cards; they seem so dated in the digital age, but go to Moo.com and spend hours creating.

2. Charge Like a Business

Freelancers sell on price, and (good) businesses sell on value. When I started ‘being’ a business, I had to put up my prices for new clients – because businesses charge more. This was good news, both for my clients and I, because there was increased accountability from me, and realistically, I was (and am) still charging below market rates. That’s cool because I have overheads so low I could bump my face on them, and businesses are far less price sensitive than freelancers.

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I’ll talk more about packaging in a later blog, but in the meantime define at least two offerings that you can charge for, either on an extended project basis or as a monthly commitment. If this is intimidated, do what I do – use it as a guarantee.

“If you don’t like our work, just stop – there’s no commitment.” It’s a powerful statement, because it increases accountability again, and it’s true. The best guarantees are crystal clear with no positioning and offer genuine peace of mind.

3. Tack On Offerings

One of the most frustrating parts of being a freelance writer was when I had to leave money on the table. “Can you do web design? I need this blog to look awesome.” “Do you know Photoshop?” “Can you create my logo?” Every time I had to shake my head and walk away, knowing that I’d likely opened the door to another freelancer who would gladly claim to be a writer despite their lack of, you know, writing experience.

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Now, I have a little group of loyal peeps who I’ve tested and used on heaps of engagements. They understand that when they deal with a client, they’re my team member and should act as such. Why would they do this? Because I get them paid! I don’t clip the ticket too much, treat them fairly, remember they’re not your employees, and make sure the offering is still compelling for the client. Boom! More freelancers, doing their freelance thang.

4. Don’t Spend Money On Pointless Junk

Things are going well! Don’t listen to anyone who says you should move into a shared space – that’s called a library or a park. Don’t for goodness sake hire staff, even on a casual basis. Don’t upgrade the car (yet) and don’t think you’ve got the whole thing sorted. The strength of freelancing is adaptability – you can be fluid according to market conditions and adapt your offering, marketing, structure or…well, anything if needs be.

I mentioned my low cost base – that’s advantageous, not only from an adaptability point of view, but also for authenticity’s sake. You see, I don’t care about the Mercedes, the big office or the bottles of champagne…and that brings me to the most important point.

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5. Define What You Want, and Do That Fearlessly

I want to sit on the beach, in a park, or wherever with the sun on my face, and a skateboard, headphones, and coffee not too far away. I passionately want to create works that matter to my clients. I like working hard, but on my own terms.

None of these things may resonate with you, and that’s fine. Define your vision, and force it into life by being an epic freelancer, who runs their own business. Begin with the right mindset and the right clients, freelancers and supporters will show up.

Featured photo credit: Camille Kimberley via Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Rhys Knight

Head of Content at www.knight.global

Hacking Your Beliefs Can Change Your Life Reprogram Your Brain, Change Your Life Want To Be Authentic? Speak To Your Inner Child How To Write Content That Matters 3 Steps to Being Fearless, Epic & Free In 2017

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Published on April 25, 2019

How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

Have you ever felt limited in your abilities to do something you really wanted to pursue? Maybe it was an ambition you had, or an idea to start something. Perhaps it was an opportunity that came your way, but you weren’t able to take it because something held you back.

Often, we’re unable to progress towards our goals because such obstacles stand in the way. We let our limitations stop or overshadow our abilities to see through to a goal.

Yet, there’s one thing that we rarely think of to use when trying to overcome limitations.

Creativity.

What is Creativity?

When I say creativity, I’m not talking about an innate talent. Creativity is a much needed, but often neglected, skill that everyone has! It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input.

Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

Everything, including brilliant inventions, cannot come from nothing; it all derives from some sort of inspiration. Creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

From this perspective, you can find creativity at play in many areas.

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For example, Mark Zuckerburg rapidly became successful by taking the previously existing concept of social media, and combining it with an incredibly simple interface that appealed to a much wider audience. Uber and Lyft combined the idea of a traditional taxi service with an incredibly efficient smartphone app.

Both of these examples connect different ideas, find common ground amongst the differences, and create a completely new idea out of them.

That’s creativity in a nutshell, and anyone can improve theirs.

Limitations are Actually Opportunities

The advantage of using creativity, is to help you see limitations as opportunities. Take any limitation that you may find yourself facing, is there a way to look at things differently?

Let me illustrate with an example.

On the day of my son’s 5th birthday, my wife and I arranged a party for him at a children’s adventure park. His friends and family were all invited, and the plan was to have a long, fun day out to celebrate.

However, the day didn’t go exactly as planned…

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At Lifehack, we pride ourselves on a healthy work-life balance, so I wasn’t concerned about taking the day off to celebrate. But, on the big day, a call came through to my phone.

It was a manager from Lifehack. He excitedly told me that a group of investors were quite interested in our business proposition, and were wanting to meet later that day.

This was great news! A potential investment could be coming our way. But, I was already miles away from home and the office. Plus, it was my son’s birthday…

I asked if I could call him back once we got settled into the park.

To be honest, I was pretty certain I was not going to be able to make it. Asking to reschedule would be a risky request, but there was no way that I was going to miss my son’s party.

My son could sense something was off, and he asked me what was wrong. So I let him know that I just received a call about a meeting today, but also told him not to worry as today was about celebrating his birthday.

But like all kids, he continued questioning me…

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“But daddy, is it important?”

“No, of course not,” I bluffed.

Then, with childlike intuition and creativity, he asked: “Can’t you just meet with them at the park?”

And, then it struck me! This was the idea that I was missing.

Even though my son didn’t quite understand that it would not be possible for the investors to meet me at the park, it made sense for me to simply do a video call!

I could miss 25 minutes of the party to do a quick call while the rest of the party walked through the aquarium. And, in the end, that was exactly what happened.

I called back my teammate and asked him to briefly explain to the investors why I couldn’t be there in person to meet, but would be happy to join via video. I took the call, and was able to spend the rest of the day at the park with my son.

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Not only did my son enjoy his birthday, his simple idea led to a successful investment meeting that allowed us to get funding for a new project.

This is where I was able to turn a limitation into an opportunity that enabled me to reach my success.

Creativity is One Key to Success

When you use your creative ability to turn your limitations and setbacks into opportunities, you’ll find doors opening for you in areas you may have never imagined.

Remember, your attitude is also important when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. That’s because a positive attitude transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

Check out this article to learn more about how you can tune your attitude towards positivity.

So, the next time you’re feeling limited by your abilities, setbacks or challenges, don’t give up. Really look at the situation, and see how you can leverage on your creativity to find an alternative solution.

Featured photo credit: Photo by William Iven on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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